Mobile Remote Deposit Capture

We might not use checks as much as we used to, but the fact of the matter is that there are 30+ Billion checks that are processed each year in the U.S., so we are far from any statement that indicates checks are dead. Now that financial institutions are rolling out mobile remote deposit capture technology as part of their mobile banking applications, people might even start to use checks even more than they did before.

There has been a lot of growing interest in the Mobile Remote Deposit technology. The technology lets customers deposit checks using images captured by cameras on their smartphones, and recently it has sparked a debate over whether it might help stall the rapid decline in check use.

“Check volume is declining, but why would it decline if [banks] make it really easy to deposit” checks, said Nicole Sturgill, the research director for delivery channels at TowerGroup.

Last month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. became the first major U.S. financial institution to offer mobile remote deposit capture. USAA Federal Savings Bank had earlier rolled out a similar service. The latest Federal Reserve data suggests that the number of checks paid fell by 6.4% per year from 2003 to 2006, for a total decline of 6.7 billion checks, from 37.3 billion to 30.6 billion.

The number of checks paid differs from the number of checks written because billers and merchants increasingly use the automated clearing house system to convert checks into electronic payments. The number of checks written slipped 4.1% per year for a total decrease of 4.5 billion, from 37.6 billion to 33.1 billion, the Fed data shows. The Fed said it expects to release updated check numbers sometime later this year.

Sturgill described mobile remote deposit capture as a viable technology that could keep consumers using checks as a payment method. But “if we want to get rid of them, (banks) need to be looking at other options and not remote deposit capture,” she said. JPMorgan Chase said it views the technology as a way to give its customers more choices for doing their banking.

Bluepoint Solutions, which develops mobile remote deposit capture services for community banks and credit unions services utilizing Mitek’s Mobile Deposit technology, said it views the technology as something that will help banks save costs associated with check processing.

Mobile Remote Deposit Capture saves people time and money, so why wouldn’t you like it? The use of checks could definitely ramp up as more and more people start to use Mobile Remote Deposit Capture.

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